Are You Assuming Change?

Unconscious assumptions underpin most planned change. Even more, those assumptions can be important determinants of whether the actual change planned occurs.

Do not assume that what you believe should result in change is the thing that will happen. Often in change processes, you exchange your version of reality with others around you. That interaction inevitably will impact and probably transform your original ideas.

That is because significant change is open to interpretation. People will view your proposal through their lens, and that will bring different opinions and perspectives. So, do assume that your ideas will be subject to a process of clarification. That clarification, in turn, means you should assume that conflict will arise in any given change process, and you ought to prepare for it.

Do assume, because of those differing perspectives, that people might need some pressure to change. However, exerting that pressure should be done in a way that engages and enables people as participants, with valid views and opinions.

Do not assume everyone will adapt to the change. We all know that change is complex, takes time, and is open to interpretation. So, do assume that you may lose people along the way, in one way or another. Try to minimise this by celebrating small steps, quick wins, and accomplishments along the change journey. That builds confidence in the direction of travel and may just help to convert some of the more change phobic or challenges in your team or organization.

However, you should also assume that any action specified may vary. Finally, always assume that change can be perplexing, irritating and frustrating. At times, the slowness of pace may even discourage you. Every time we feel the impulse to say “change is hard,” we could make a different claim that is every bit as accurate: Adaptation is the rule of human existence, not the exception.

Summing-up: Assume you will need to plan carefully and as fully as you can, taking into account as many of the previously noted assumptions as you can.

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